• Gabi Gandolfini

How to Throw DYI birthday parties

Updated: Apr 10, 2019

I get VERY excited with birthdays. Very.

When my son turned one I made him a dinosaur cake (which no one could tell was a dinosaur!) and a pretty table with balloons, so I did make an effort but I didn't go all out and theme it. It was only for the close family anyway.

My husband holding baby Joseph over his birthday table with cake, drinks and snakcs
Joseph's 1st birthday party

Then he started going to nursery and I got excited that he could have little friends at his party so for his second birthday I went all out with decorations and hired a room at a city farm and we were going to have the best farmyard party. Then he fell l ill and we had to cancel the party... (we took him to visit the farm when he felt better instead. With his personalised t-shirt on :-)).

Josep at a city farm with some chickens in the background
Joseph's 2nd (cancelled) birthday party at the farm

For his 3rd birthday we went to Disneyland Paris so the party was real! I did order him a cake at one of the restaurants and I got made another personalised t-shirt for him to wear.

We are blowing birthday candles with Tiger at a restaurant at Disneyland Paris
Joseph's 3rd birthday party at Disneyland Paris

Last year for his 4th birthday I asked him what theme he would like and he chose "Spider Man versus Elsa". I mean... epic battle! But after a little persuasion we drilled it down to an Olaf party. We held it at our house and invited all our family, close friends with children and his entire pre-school class. There were like 25 children in our house! We hired a Frozen bouncy castle for the garden but the day was quite chilly and all 25 children were inside in the play area most of the time :-) And still... we loved it! We loved the chaos. We loved watching the kids interact and play together with my son's toys. It was nice to get to know the parents of the children a bit better. We just loved hosting a party at our house!

An Olaf themed birthday party
Joseph's 4th birthday party

So this year Joseph chose a pirate theme for his party and I could not have been happier! I love pirates (I'm really just a big kid!) so I had so much fun planning it! We held it at our house again and we invited close friends with children and his whole Reception class. We had about 25 children again. Luckily the weather was glorious and sunny and warm on the day so everyone stayed out in the garden. We hired a pirate ship bouncy castle which was a big hit! We chose to have family members without children over the following weekend for a more civilised lunch, so the day was purely about the kids.

Joseph sitting in an inflatable shark with a pirate flag above him
Joseph's 5th birthday party

So... how much did it cost us to throw a pirate party for 25 children? About £350 all in - including cake, food, party bags, decorations, bouncy castle. I think it's pretty good! And I had a lot of fun planning it!

Aaaaand both me and my husband (who was also a birthday boy as him and my son share a birthday!) also dressed up as pirates! We have no shame and we are all about taking part! So I bought matching shirts for me and Paul - they are both men's but I bought small for me and extra large for him. They are not costume shirts, they are proper high quality medieval shirts. I thought these would look a bit classier, more comfortable and a lot more versatile. They can be used again for a Medieval party, a Robin Hood party etc etc. I actually love these shirts! They are from on of my favourite shops for Disney apparel actually and the link to the shirts is here.

Me, my husband, my son and my daughter as pirates
Pirate family!

My kids costumes are from Costco and were £15 pounds each, including sword and hat (I know!!). The drinks, all food and cake all from Costco too. The really cool photo backdrop was £8.99 from Ebay and it's fabric, so it's reusable (it will probably be turned into Prince Eric's ship on a Little Mermaid party at some point!).

My son and daughter in pirate costumes
Costco pirate costumes!

Decorations and party bags (which I put together myself) were all from Ebay, Amazon, Poundshop and charity shop.

So yes, you can do a really lovely themed party at home with just a little patience to browse through Pinterest to get some ideas and browse through Ebay to find good deals. If you want to see the rest of the decorations, I did a YouTube video where you can see the food, cake and bouncy castle too (below).

I hope this gives you some ideas and inspires you to try out a DYI party at some point! I asked my son if he felt he needed an entertainer (as all parties we go to are in halls with entertainers of some sort) and he said no, that it was just as fun for him as his friends to "use their imagination" and do whatever they like. So that made me very happy! If you don't have a big garden just limit the numbers and the kids can have just as much fun indoors.

Now, to start planning Nattie's second birthday party! I'll do a separate blog post on her first birthday party which was lovely. So for her next party - Nemo & Dory or Farmyard?

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